Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fall at Possession Point

Here's a plein air painting done at Possession Point Park during warmer weather. This painting was very pleasing to do and is probably my most successful oil painting to date. Not that it's all that successful, but I feel I learned some things about brush strokes and subject matter. Keep it simple! And working in a smaller size is much more manageable.

Fall at Possession Point, 12x9, oil on hardboard

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Rosario Beach

Rosario Beach is just north of Deception Pass. Its a stunningly beautiful area.
Eons ago I took a watercolor class in college where we painted outside daily. It was there I learned how much I love painting plein air. Another thing I learned was to dip my brush into a different color each time. A technique I used to some degree here.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Hammons Preserve

A few plein air studies of Hammons Preserve. Hammons overlooks Cultus Bay. A beautiful place to have a picnic or just sit on the bench and admire the landscape.
A couple words about painting oil en plein air... It's very difficult!! But there's nothing like being outside, painting in the open, watching the subtle changes in light.

Cultus Bay from Hammons, 16"x12", oil on hardboard

Apple Trees, Hammons Preserve, 11"x14". oil on Hardboard

Hammons Preserve, 9"x12", oil on hardboard

Cultus Bay from Hammons 2, 18"x20", oil on hardboard

Monday, September 10, 2012

Birthday Sunflowers

For Missy, a fellow sketcher and blossoming artist. You can see her lovely work here, at the Anacortes Sketchers.

A sketcher sketching

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Here's a plein air painting done at Possession Park. Late afternoon light is my favorite, especially this time of year. It's golden. For me the most challenging aspect of painting with oils is keeping colors clean and creating strong value contrasts. I have to remind myself to pull back on using white.

Possession, 12x9, Oil on Birch

Monday, September 3, 2012

Plein Air-ing

Having some fun with oils on location. Fun to slather the paint on. It's gooey, mushy tactile loveliness. Though it's easy to end up with a pile of gray paint. I do really enjoy the surface aspect of this medium. Got more to post, so stay tuned!

Mike's Sunflowers, 12"x8", oil sketch on Maple

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Getting Beat

I beat this sketch to a pulp but, frankly, I feel more beat by it. When all else fails just pound on them. But I learned some things. And have some new ideas for how I may want to handle complex backgrounds in the future.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Here's to Useful Herbs

They're great for sketches. Here's a couple quick ones of some of my favorites. From upper left to right, then lower center: hot and spicy oregano, lovage, rosemary, purple sage and caraway thyme. I know the lovage gets large, so will probably need transplanting. This celery like plant is great in soups and salads. Caraway thyme smells just like it's name and is wonderful in potato soup.

And another use, my recipe for:
Parchment Chicken with Herbs, Roasted Garlic and Onion
2 Chicken Breasts
1 small coarsely chopped onion
4-8 cloves roasted garlic
Handful of chopped fresh herbs... oregano, sage, rosemary, thyme, Parsley, basil. Anything you have on hand.
1 tablespoon or so Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Sprinkle chicken lightly with salt and pepper, then brown on both sides quickly in oiled pan. Remove chicken.
Cut 2 large 12"x16" pieces of parchment.
For each:
Place 1/4 of the chopped onion in middle of the parchment paper, Add on top 1-2 cloves of roasted garlic, sprinkle 1/4 of the herbs and salt and pepper to taste. Place chicken on top. Add 1/4 herbs, 2 garlics, 1/4 onion and 1/2 tablespoon olive oil on chicken, salt and pepper to taste.
Wrap each chicken up by folding edges of the paper. They should look like they're in big, upright envelopes. Punch 2- 1/4 inch holes. Bake in 375 degree oven for 30 minutes or so depending on size of the chicken breast. Comes out juicy and delicious.
I plate it with baked or boiled potatoes and put the roasted garlic on top so no butter is needed. The potatoes soak up the juices. And, of course, include a green vegetable of your choice.

Monday, May 14, 2012


Some pretty flowers a friend brought...

Monday, May 7, 2012

Maxwelton Beach Sunset

A warm weather evening for painting at Maxwelton Beach...

Sunday, May 6, 2012

OM Again

Another lovely evening at Ott and Murphy Wines sketching to Janie and Joe and sipping OM's delicious wines. Janie and Joe rocked the house!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

WISk at Windjammer Park

Whidbey Island Sketchers had a windy sketch meet at Windjammer Park in Oak Harbor yesterday. Regardless, a fun time was had by all. The Windmill there is a great subject, but very difficult to draw. After one attempt we opted for more comfortable sketching conditions at Flyers, an Oak Harbor sports bar. More fun of course!
If you're in the neighborhood and looking for something to do this weekend, Oak Harbor's Holland Happening festival is in full swing. And check out the sketchers delightful versions of the windmill at our WISk blog. Here are mine...

At Flyers...


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Artichoke Dinner

I split this artichoke for steaming and was struck by it's beauty in the kettle. I cannot do it justice! It's colors and intricate patterns fascinate me.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Meerkerk Garden Gumdrops

Whidbey Island Sketchers met at Meerkerk Rhododendron Gardens last Friday. Here's a couple of my sketches:

The grouping of gumdrop shaped trees in the rock garden at Meerkerk are an interesting arrangement to paint at any angle. This garden is all about round vertical and horizontal forms. Fun to watch the light define it over the hours. This sketch isn't complete, but that may be a good thing!

The Entrance building to the gardens seems to be made of slate. It has a church-like look to it. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Scatchet Totem

A quick sketch done on another blustery day. My water brushes, water bottle, palette and sponge all took flight. At least there was some sun to light my subject, the totem at Scatchet Beach. Having direct light was an opportunity to play with more color and contrast. Lately I've been more cognizant of how I apply color in layers on my sketches because of a discussion with my friend, Sue. She recently took a class focusing on glazing with Jan Hart down in Costa Rica. Jan's work is beautiful. It's very apparent she has a great understanding of color and pigment characteristics. The knowledge it takes to avoid mud. So I'm inspired to expand my understanding of color and pigments. I've always layered washes and never really considered it "glazing." I like a direct approach to applying watercolor, so tend to use minimal layers. Generally I've found highly pigmented colors such as cobalt blue, cerulean, manganese blue, yellow ochre etc. work best on top of transparents such as gamboge and alizarin crimson. And I like the effect of cool colors on warm. Dry time is a big issue when glazing outdoors, but today the wind took care of that!

Monday, March 26, 2012

A Cat's Request

Miss Abigail lays on her back to communicate when it's time for a belly rub. She expressed some irritation that I was sketching her instead.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Baseball Practice Practice

I stumbled upon a local baseball team's afternoon practice. Kids dashing, standing inline and doing pushups in colorful, layered teeshirts. A mind boggling challenge to try to sketch, but I loved it! I'd have lots more but they started wrapping up minutes within my arrival. Now I'm on the lookout for more sessions, on sunny days!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

New Moon and a Peony

The new moon was on March 22 so this sketch is not officially a new moon sketch, being done the day after. As I rounded a bend on an evening walk to the beach I was riveted by the sliver of a crescent over the Olympic mountains. And the intensity of colors at dusk was so astounding I had to sketch the scene. I was rushing to get home before dark so slap-dashed it, literally in a minute! Then ran!

I did this little sketch of my growing peony tree late afternoon.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Cold Sunset

We've had some crazy weather in the northwest. Here's a sketch done on another VERY windy evening...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Pilchuck Creek

Another digital image done on the iPad. Pretty darn fun to play with!

Monday, March 5, 2012


A few landscapes sketched at low Tide.

Near dusk. Done with Neocolor.

Watercolor and line.

Extremely windy conditions. Watercolor.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Neocolor Neophyte

Nupastel, pastel and charcoal are drawing mediums I've always loved working with. Unfortunately their big drawback is their dusty nature. So that's one added plus (among many) for using watercolor. Considering how much I enjoy both I thought I'd try Caran d'Ache Neocolor II Artists' Crayons. Apply water to dilute and soften marks into transparent washes. Worked dry, one can make marks both bold and sensitive. And they're soft enough to smudge and blend with your fingers. Just what I like about nupastels. Pack a few sticks, some waterbrushes and a sketchbook, and you're set for anywhere-sketching.

Here are a few of my experiments...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Painting Jennifer

My images from our Monday evening figure session at studio 106. As always, it's a pleasure to study the human form with paint. Jennifer was our wonderfully elegant model. On one level very inspiring, on another intimidating. A fun challenge. The first image I feel I overworked. Too many colors makes for mud. The second image isn't finished. Our session ended before I had a chance to do so. But I'm posting it because it shows some of the process, and I like aspects of it. So it sits as is.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Déjà vu at Ott and Murphy Wines

Another great performance at Ott and Murphy Wines by David Gregor and David Ossman. But this evening Eleanor Fye joined in, rounding out the duo with her lovely voice and tribute to Etta James. What a treat! The intimate space of Ott and Murphy is the perfect venue for their performances. Everyone, owners, performers and patrons, are always warm and friendly. And they have tasty wines too!

David Gregor on guitar. Playing his own music as well.
David Ossman recites poetry. His own included

A couple enjoying the performance and ambiance.

And of course a glass of Double Bluff Red.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Painting Anne

Here's a few spontaneous paintings I did of Anne Belov, an island resident and artist who's work is known nationally. She was kind enough to take the time to model for us at Studio 106 in Langley. You can see her beautiful work here...

I'm posting these in reverse order of completion. Last first because it's the destination I liked ending up at. The series somewhat represents my process of a warm up to unleashing rather than tightening up. It's always my intent to give myself freedom to explore and have fun when drawing and painting on-location. Most importantly, to have fun. And fun I do. But freedom is a little harder to come by. Lately, though, it's been easier. I've given license for every drawing to fail. In fact I want them to fail. To have no preconceptions, no pretty washes, pile on the paint, make messes, work fast and drippy. I consider placement for a moment, then plunge. It takes practice to get there, and it's fleeting. But happening more, so on that level feel I've been successful. So here's to a 2012 full of picture-making failures!
Happy New Year!